Roger Linquist

CEO and Partner / NxGen Partners

Rocketing revenue

Roger Linquist ’66 used a mass-market approach
at MetroPCS to ignite growth

At one point, former MetroPCS CEO and Chairman Roger Linquist thought he might simply continue in mechanical engineering. Instead, he attended Kellogg and later co-founded the Dallas-based MetroPCS in 1994. Within a decade of operations, he grew the wireless carrier into a Fortune 500 company with more than $5 billion in revenue.

This steady growth attracted Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of wireless carrier T-Mobile that merged with MetroPCS in 2013, strengthening T-Mobile’s prepaid carrier position in the United States.

"We thought we could create a signature phone service for the mass market," said Linquist, who recalled that when MetroPCS started commercial operations in 2002 and opened its first store in Miami, "we had lines of people waiting at the front door."

Linquist saw the market’s potential back in the early ’80s as a McKinsey consultant. He became CEO at two cellular companies before starting paging-service provider PageMart in 1988. At PageMart, Linquist developed the approach he would use at MetroPCS. Forgoing long-term contracts and subsidized handsets, MetroPCS focused on customer service, no-contract plans and affordable, quality networks. Averaging 35 percent growth annually for more than 10 years, the company became the first U.S. carrier to offer 4G LTE service, both of which appealed greatly to Deutsche Telekom.

"We thought that T-Mobile could do something exciting in the marketplace," he said. "The timing was right."

Now CEO and Partner of NxGen Partners, a startup private equity firm comprised of senior executives from Fortune 500 companies, Linquist said he’s ready to work on some new ventures. "Some of the projects will be relevant to our past experiences," he said, "but it’ll be good to create again."

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